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Florence Trivia - Galileo's Middle Finger On Display

Florence Trivia - Galileo's Middle Finger On Display

Sep 21st, 2009, 06:55 AM
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Florence Trivia - Galileo's Middle Finger On Display

...A preserved finger, with dried skin and all, of Galileo's right hand, is on display in Florence' Museum and Institute of the History of Science - the digit was severed from Galileo's corpse when it was being transferred to Santa Croce church in Florence in the 1730s and eventually wound up on display at the Institute, where visitors 'can get the finger' from Galileo years after his death (see photo on http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/finger.html)

I had never heard of the Florence' Museum and Institute of the History of Science before i heard a bit about Galileo's finger being on display there. But looking at the Institute's site about exhibits it seems like there is a lot here documenting Florence's heady role in scientific development during the Renaissance. It also appears to be in a colossal old palazzo right on the banks of the Arno a stone's throw from the Ponte Vecchio


http://www.imss.fi.it/

any first-hand reports with visiting the Institute?
Palenque is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 07:07 AM
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another "relic" perhaps?????
Dukey is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 07:18 AM
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I have visited this museum twice. Here's my report from my first visit in 2004:

The Museo di Storia della Scienza is by the river just behind the Uffizi. I've never visited it before, so I'm also interested to see it. However, I warn my companion that it may not be the kind of science museum he's expecting. He's expecting fun, hands-on exhibits. What we get are two floors of interesting scientific instruments circa 1400 to 1900, some belonging to Galileo. The English-language guidebooks fill in historic information about the objects, but often we wish we knew more about how the individual objects work. At one point, docents gather all the visitors to watch a demonstration of Galileo's inclined plane, demonstrating acceleration due to gravity -- very interesting. I want to touch and play with all the objects, but this is not possible. Some gruesome points: While most exhibits are tools and devices, one room includes among the displays Galileo's finger in a jar; another room contains two dozen or more full-size anatomical models -- cross-sections of difficult pregnancies. Eeeek. The temporary exhibit in the basement about planetary movement is a bit more hands-on.

And from another visit in 2008, the upper floors of the museum were closed for renovation. There was a small exhibit on the main floor from the permanent collections--some of the objects and instruments as well as the infamous finger. Also on the main floor was a small special exhibit about the development of the bicycle. The same planetary exhibit was in the basement.

I'm nor sure if the renovations have been completed yet.
ellenem is online now  
Sep 21st, 2009, 07:25 AM
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ellenem - gret report! And site says renovations will be completed by Jan 2010 but in Italy you know how they can drag on - site says parts of museum remain closed - like they say about some church facades in Italy with scaffolding -the scaffolding has been there so long to now be considered a part of the facade.

I'm putting the museum on my hit list for this Jan so nice to know at least can see the finger and other gruesome displays
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Sep 21st, 2009, 07:32 AM
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I consider the Museo di Storia della Scienza and Galileo's finger pretty well-known actually. Less well-known and much more gruesome is this museum in Florence, La Specola:

http://www.museumsinflorence.com/mus...l_history.html
ellenem is online now  
Sep 21st, 2009, 08:12 AM
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I just visited the Florence's Museo di Storia della Scienza last May. Across the street, a bit down from the Ponte Vecchio, the museum looks actually quite modern. There were two other people besides my sister and I. There is renovation work going towards the back of the museum and some rooms were closed. I thought the exhibit of scientific instruments was outstanding. Apparently, the main core of these came from Cosimo Medici's famous collection, most of which were at Pitti Palace. They do have Galileo's telescope and other instruments he used on his studies. I am an engineer so I was fascinated on how little many of these instrument have changed. Modern versions are smaller and made of different materials, but the original concept still works like a charm!
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Sep 21st, 2009, 08:27 AM
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"first-hand reports" - I like it!!!
Bert4545 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 08:30 AM
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But I never seem to be able to get anywhere with your links, Pal. I get "404 Not found" this time.
Bert4545 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 08:33 AM
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Bert - i got that too one time and another it worked - it's rather Italian, ain't it - work sometime don't the other.

I am an engineer so I was fascinated on how little many of these instrument have changed.> Viajero - have you visited the wonderful Arts-et-Metiers Museum in Paris - is the Florentine one much the same? thanks
Palenque is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 08:36 AM
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We enjoyed the museum in 07. It is conveniently located and contains very interesting instruments and exhibits. The museum is a nice contrast to art museums, though many of the instruments and exhibits are works of art.

We had a very helpful docent (from the US) who individually guided us through a part of the museum. (It was not busy).

One caution is that it is not necessarily as hands on as some other science museums.

The finger is fun though underwhelming.
Bitter is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 08:48 AM
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You may have better luck with this:
http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/museu...04010B_300.jpg
'Docent' is a weird word. I had never seen or heard it till I read a Cadogan guide to Venice (of course) about 5 years ago. I've since seen it several times on Fodor's, but I would hazard a guess that 99.99% of Britons have no idea what it means. [That's not a criticism of Bitter for using it, by the way.]
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Sep 21st, 2009, 08:51 AM
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palenque- Unfirtunately, I have not yet visited the Arts-et-Metiers Museum in Paris. On the list!!! Thanks for the rec!
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 08:52 AM
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'docent' is a very very common term for usually volunteers who enlighten folks on various parts of museums here.
Palenque is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Musée des arts et métiers
- [ Translate this page ]
Présentation des collections et d'une sélection d'objets remarquables, expositions temporaires, activités pédagogiques, publications et liens utiles. Paris ...
- -
www.arts-et-metiers.net/ -

viajero - i love old machines, scientific instruments, etc and the Arts-et-Metiers is fantastic for these
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